My Damn Crystal Ball

My Damn Crystal Ball by Nick Reid

This is going to last longer than people are saying.

Re-Opening is not Recovery, it is just the first step.

People are putting too much emphasis on re-opening – and it is going to cause some grief down the line. 

There is still a race for a vaccine. 

Some local travel will take place this summer. The majority will be drive. 

(There’s is talk of a $4,000 travel tax credit – stimulus)

But the industry cannot survive on 30-50% occupancies. 

Domestic corporate travel will start back slowly in September.

But pent up desire will not translate to pent up demand. Japan still has a 14-day quarantine for arrivals. Hawaii just changed their 14-day quarantine to a requirement for a Negative Covid test at the time of boarding. 

By first quarter 2021 we will only be at 30% of usual business. 

We will build back gradually during 2021 hitting normal numbers first quarter 2022.

Who will survive? It’s hard to stay. 

20% of New York City Hotels will never re-open.

Hilton has laid off 20% of Corporate Staff.

Qantas has laid off 6,000 staff and will not resume International service until 2021.

Travel agents close to retirement whose partners/spouses have employment outside of the travel industry may choose to simply retire.

50% of travel industry staff will be laid off by July. Survival will depend on the $600 per week special allowance being extended beyond July 31. Without it most cannot survive on simple Unemployment Benefits (UI).

UI will need to be extended beyond the now extended 12 months as some will still be unemployed come April 2021.

A second PPP may be available to Small Businesses to use for salary/wage replacement.

So much talent will go wanting for work. Many will turn to Independent Contractor status feeling there is no other alternative. More “agents” will be fighting for a much-reduced pie.

Intelligent travel agencies and companies will look to mergers and cost cutting to survive.

Those who can survive until early 2021, will be the winners.

by Imelda Bermudez

If you’ve just read Nick’s article and are still feeling the sting of his words, rest easy. My words will soften the blow.  Nick is a Realist; calls it as he sees it.  You know, “just the facts, ma’am”.  I, on the other hand, am an Optimist. Someone who tends to be hopeful and confident about the future. Not because of concrete evidence, but because I believe for every bad, there’s good. 

And this is why we make the perfect partnership.

I can honestly say, Nick is 100% correct.  And it’s through his candor and experience that I find the strength to trudge forward. But how? Tourism is operating at 30-50%, he says. What do I do in the meantime? The thought of watching another movie/show on Netflix makes me want to set fire to myself. Okay, maybe not that drastic, but you get the picture.

And so, my research begins.

I scrolled through a myriad of posts on LinkedIn. Read articles on Spoke to friends and colleagues who are in the same boat as I am.  What do I keep hearing? “I think it’s time to reinvent myself”. 

Just because the Travel & Hospitality Industries are at a standstill, it doesn’t mean you should wait on the sidelines until you “see some movement”. Start by creating movement yourself. Make YOU a Whole New YOU. I’m not suggesting you leave the industry you love altogether. Why not change fields in the same industry? Or better yet, build on the skills you already have to make yourself more attractive to hiring managers. 

Gone are the days of unitasking. Those who are hired back first, won’t be doing just ONE job (as they did before). Employers are going to expect employees to wear more than one hat.  How many hats do YOU have?

  • Corporate Travel Agents – if you’ve never issued tickets, or need a refresher, IATA has free online training courses on their site:

  • Leisure Travel Agents – if you don’t have GDS experience, look into taking an online course on SABRE, Apollo, or Worldspan.  There are online courses for $200 and in less than 2 weeks, you’ll be introduced to a whole new world of technology that will make you a viable asset.
  • Meeting Planners – up your game by learning a platform like Cvent. Check out videos on Vimeo or YouTube (“Cvent training courses”) that will introduce you to this must have Event Management Platform, as the event industry transitions into the virtual world.
  • Travel Agency to Hotel?  If you’re like my friend Albert, and you know everything there is to know about your local community; restaurants, theme parks, museums, etc. Have you thought about working for a hotel? Start with becoming a concierge. Use that local tourism knowledge and help others get around in your fair town. Your travel industry experience will come in handy later, as you decide to grow in hospitality.

You already know the industry. Now, all you have to do is get back in the game and learn how to play a different position. Don’t leave the Travel & Hospitality Industry. Reinvent yourself.  Just T.R.Y.